6 Tactics for Teaching Teens to Deal with Physical Attraction and Sexual Urges

BY: - 8 Nov '13 | Parenting

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In my last article, Physical Attractions And Sexual Urges: 5 Things Parents Need to Teach Their Kids, I received a lot of comments requesting more detail. So, instead of ignoring that resounding rebuke, like a man, I’m going to take that one on the chin and inject my opinion about what parent should teach their kids.

Let me first prepare you: my approach is not conventional. It first deals with the parents, then the science behind physical attraction, then the strategies for how to deal with physical attraction and sexual urges. What you won’t get from me is my opinion on the age at which I think its okay for your son/daughter to have sex. I’m sorry…but that decision should be left up to the parents and child. But what you will get from me is my advice on how you can have that discussion…and others like it.

Your Past and Biases

Before you can teach you kids anything, you have to first deal with your own past and biases. It’s understandable…parents want to protect their children from making some of the same mistakes they made regarding relationships with the opposite sex.  But guard yourself against diverting attention to how you handled similar situations in your past. That emphasis takes the focus off of them and redirects it to you and your past. Rather, be present in the moment with them. Focus on helping them figure out their situation.

As a parent, all the stuff you learned from your past has created a natural bias toward what you believe is right/wrong, good/bad, appropriate/inappropriate, acceptable/unacceptable. The compilation of those biases has created your value system. Stand on your values…do that. But don’t apply biases to your children just because your parents applied those same biases to you. What I mean is, just because your mom wouldn’t let you date until you were 17 doesn’t mean that your child can’t date till she’s 17. If your child is responsible enough to handle a group date at 16 with some kids you know and trust, then give her a chance to prove you raised her to be a responsible young lady.

The Science Behind Feelings of Attraction

Know that…you cannot control feelings. So don’t try. But you can control behavioral responses to those feelings. There is neurological and physiological science behind feelings of attraction. Simply put:

  • Guy sees cute girl
  • A tidal wave of happy feelings is sent throughout his brain
  • His brain gives commands to specific parts of his body to respond to those happy feelings. For example, he smiles. His eyes get wide. His heart beats faster, which causes shortness of breath. Blood flows to specific parts of his body.

The same process happens to girls too. Her face turns red. She smiles and giggles (think of teen girls at a Justin Bieber concert). These feelings are the natural functioning of a maturing young boy or girl. And their physiological behavior is subconsciously automatic and physically uncontrollable. But at 13 – 16 years old, all they are intelligent enough to interpret is “I like her” or “He’s cute”. So when you approach your teen to talk about the opposite sex, they don’t know how to express their feelings yet, which makes everyone feel awkward. As adults, we have the luxury of experience to inform us about what our feelings mean…and how to respond to them. But teens are just trying to figure out all these new weird feelings…without embarrassing themselves.

What to Do With Feelings of Attraction and Sexual Urges…

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About the author

Heath Wiggins wrote 83 articles on this blog.

The Purveyor of Understanding - Heath Wiggins married Bernadette (Bernie) Wiggins in October 1997. Together they founded the Family Bootcamp, LLC., a relationship consulting business that helps people improve the communication and trust in relationships. In 2013, Heath launched the blog and book His Leadership Her Trust to combat the lack of trust women had in allowing men be leaders in their relationships. His mission is to teach Christian men how to lead in such a way that women trust, respect, and actually want to them.


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Rising Above It: 19 and Pregnant with Only 2 Options for My Life

BY: - 11 Nov '13 | inspiration

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This post is brought to you by the makers of Pine-Sol® Products. I have partnered with them to spread the word about the ‘When Life Gets Tough, Women Rise Above It’ campaign and sweepstakes. To enter the sweepstakes, visit  www.womenRiseAboveIt.com. All opinions and stories are my own.

In 1992, I was in my junior year at Spelman College.  I had a full scholarship and a paid summer internship every summer.  I was 19 years old and pregnant with my first child.  I hid it and did not tell anyone until Christmas break.  Since the dorms were closed over the Christmas Holidays, I was forced to go home and face the music.

By the time I went home, I was 5 months pregnant.  And I had to figure out how to break this news to my parents. Needless to say, they were very disappointed in me. Like many parents, they wanted the best for me and they did not want to see me struggle.  But after a few tough conversations, they sprang into action.

We never once even discussed the option of quitting school…not once.  In a few short weeks, I had the necessary prenatal care that I was missing while hiding my pregnancy, and a plan for what I needed to do when I got back to school.

My parents showed me true unconditional love and showed me just how much they were willing to sacrifice for me. And their actions reinforced something that they had always instilled in us:

When Life Gets Tough, You Have to Rise Above it.

I’ve seen my father work two jobs to provide for his family, I’ve seen my parents struggle financially, and I’ve seen them overcome marital problems. I’ve seen them deal with things that would take most people out mentally.  But each time, they picked up the pieces and they moved forward.  And they expect no less from me.  They expect me to do the same when I am faced with challenges (whether I brought those challenges on myself or not.)

They taught me that when life gets tough, you have two options;

You can wallow in the stench, complain, and feel sorry for yourself. Or, you can push past and rise above it.

And now, here I am faced with a 20 year old child that is in college. He is on his own now and making his own choices…some of which are not giving him such great outcomes.  And I have two prayers for him. The first is that I have been able to teach him to rise above when he is faced with challenges (because we know that he will face them.)  And secondly, that I am showing him the same unconditional love that my parents showed me.

To recognize and celebrate the remarkable women among us, Pine-Sol® is teaming up with actress and activist Rosie Perez to launch the ‘When Life Gets Tough, Women Rise Above It’ campaign. From November 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014, women across the country are encouraged to contribute their own stories of triumph to Pine-Sol’s moving collection of stories by visiting www.womenRiseAboveIt.com.

If you have a story of perseverance, then this is your chance to share it with the world and to inspire other women who may also be going through challenges.  Also, by entering your story, you will have a chance to win many great prizes, such as:

  • Once a week for 12 weeks, Pine-Sol® will award one lucky winner small tokens of appreciation (Flower bouquet + Pine Sol coupons)
  • Three first prize winners will receive complimentary house cleaning services for a year

  • One grand prize winner will be awarded an all-inclusive trip to enjoy a peaceful spa experience at a deluxe hotel.

BMWK – what challenges have you faced that you were able to rise above? Please share with us below and then take a few minutes to enter the sweepstakes…after all who would not love free house cleaning for a year or a trip to a peaceful spa.

Sweepstakes Rules: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Open to legal residents of the 50 United States & D.C. 18 years and older.  Ends 1/31/14 at 11:59 a.m. PT.  To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions, visit www.womenriseaboveit.com. Void where prohibited.

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 522 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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